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Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Slayer

by Mike McGuirk

Artist Spotlight: Slayer


Generally considered one of the most influential metal bands of all time, Slayer’s triumvirate of classic albums – Reign In Blood, South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss -- absolutely defined the nascent thrash metal scene of the early ‘80s and actually scared a good portion of the public thanks to sensational exposes on such tabloid news shows as Hard Copy and its brethren. One of the (probably apocryphal) legends of the band was that they practiced in their house and played so loud, they actually killed their elderly neighbor. Who cares if that’s not true.

In addition to the previously unimagined speeds, pervasive Satanic aesthetic and lyrics obsessed with the horrors of war, the other big thing the band was known for was the dive-bombing, wholly unhinged dual lead solos of guitarists and founding members, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Much like the telepathic spray of major influences Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing (they of Judas Priest), Hanneman and King were prone towards dissonant freakouts jammed up against breakneck shred -- not to mention the arsenal of riffs that mark Slayer’s creative peak. Just about everyone in the world knows the mosh in “Angel of Death.”

The untimely death of Hanneman (he was only 49) on May 2, 2013 was a major loss not just for the metal world, but for fans of badass guitar-playing itself. The guy was a ninja. In his honor, we've put together a playlist of their all-time greatest hits, along with a guide to their best albums. No way you can play this loud enough.

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